LAFAYETTE, Colorado — A 95-year-old resident of a Colorado assisted living facility has been charged with gunning down an employee there he believed had been stealing from him.
Police in Lafayette say Okey Payne had confronted the employee, Ricardo Medina-Rojas, in the facility’s lobby and then pulled out a handgun and opened fire. He then aimed the gun at two other employees before walking back to his room.
Deputies took Medina-Rojas to a nearby hospital where he was later declared dead. A small handgun was recovered from Payne, who told cops he was sorry to have killed Medina-Rojas but was happy “the thievery would stop.”
Payne had told the facility’s administrators about the alleged thefts, but police say the matter was investigated by adult protective services and no evidence was found. Payne had also said he believed the facility’s employees were trying to kill him.
Cops say Payne had been told he couldn’t have a gun in the facility and that two pistols had earlier been taken from him and put into a safe. He told cops that the .45 caliber gun he allegedly used for the shooting had been given to him by his father when he was 23-years-old after the father used it in World War I.
The officer who interviewed Payne noted that other than difficulty hearing, there were no other apparent issues. Payne was “clear headed” and “lucid” while providing detailed information about what happened and did not appear “confused or unable to comprehend questions.”
Payne has been charged with first-degree murder.